U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Humanitarian Relief in Complex Emergencies

By Andrew S. Natsios | Go to book overview

3
The Bureaucratic Politics of Disasters

Perhaps the least studied but institutionally most important elements in the international humanitarian response system are the donor countries' disaster relief offices -- notably those of the United States and the European Union (EU). These offices fund 86 percent of the NGO, ICRC, and UN work in complex emergencies. 1 The level of operational coordination among them has reached an increasingly sophisticated level; indeed, such cooperation has been easier to achieve and more productive than military and diplomatic relationships between these same national governments when dealing with complex emergencies. Because of this intimacy, the United States and EU have influenced each other in the development of strategy, though as yet joint strategic planning does not occur on a regular basis.

Virtually all of the literature on complex emergency response fails on this central point: without the donor country aid agencies and their disaster relief offices, there would be no emergency response of any significance. No humanitarian agency generates enough private funding to sustain a program in the field during complex emergencies, particularly after the television cameras are turned off. The enormous outpouring of private support for the Ethiopian famine response of 1985 is not illustrative of private contributions generally unless the situation deteriorates into mass starvation. It takes repeated scenes of the apocalypse on the evening news to raise great amounts of private money, scenes that

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U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Humanitarian Relief in Complex Emergencies
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xiii
  • About the Author xv
  • Acknowledgments xvii
  • Introduction xix
  • 1 - Anatomy of a Complex Humanitarian Emergency 1
  • 2 - Complex Humanitarian Emergencies and the U.S. National Interest 19
  • 3 - The Bureaucratic Politics of Disasters 33
  • 4 - Nongovernmental Organizations 56
  • 5 - The United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross 76
  • 6 - The U.S. Military and Complex Humanitarian Emergencies 105
  • 7 - The Policy Influence of the News Media 124
  • 8 - On Strategy 140
  • Conclusion: The Problem of Political Will 169
  • Notes 173
  • Bibliography 180
  • Index 185
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